A Brief History of Wilmington2
A group of Swedish settlers sailed up the Delaware River in 1638 to a tributary they named after their queen, Christina. They chose the lowlands between the Christina and Brandywine rivers for a settlement, and by 1698 constructed a church. Today this is known as the Old Swedes Church. By 1731 Thomas Willing laid out the initial town with a grid pattern for its streets similar to ones found in Philadelphia. Streets running east to west were numbered while those running north to south were named for trees, presidents and prominent citizens. Joined by real-estate developer William Shipley, the two created a successful market and mill town. It was named named Willingtown.
The family of William Penn granted the small town a charter in 1739, allowing the formation of a local government. The name was changed to Wilmington, apparently after William Penn’s friend Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington. Wilmington became a city in 1832 with an elected mayor and city council.
Railroads linked Wilmington with nearby Baltimore and Philadelphia by 1837. The city became known for its shipyards, factories and other industries throughout the 19th century. The outlook of the city changed in 1904 when the DuPont Company located its headquarters there. The intervening decades would see Wilmington transition from an industrial based into an office based city. Wilmington’s population peaked around 120,000 during the early 20th century. Suburban growth, coupled with economic decline, led to a long period of population loss. Things turned around with the 1981 signing of the Financial Center Development Act, which accommodated out of state banks that relocated to Delaware. Several new high rises were constructed for the banking industry, giving Wilmington a pronounced skyline and furthering the “Corporate Capital of the World” nickname.
552 acres of parkland are preserved within the city limits of Wilmington. Various tracts of land, including Rockford Park, were donated by William Poole Bancroft. Bancroft also assisted with the creation of the parks commission. A landscaped boulevard through Union Park Gardens, Flats and Forty Acres bears his name. The establishment of Brandywine Park along the Brandywine Creek in 1886 preserved one of the more scenic urban waterways in the country. A system of paths line the park as it stretches from near Downtown to Rockford Park.
Interstate 95 bisects the city of Wilmington from the Christina River northward to U.S. 202 (Concord Pike) in Brandywine Hundred. The southern extent parallels the AMTRAK Northeast Corridor by the Christina Riverfront and Justison Landing areas along the Wilmington Viaduct. The elevated freeway accommodates six lanes north to the SR 4 (Maryland Avenue) and SR 48 (MLK Boulevard) ramps, and four lanes by Hedgeville to the geologic fall line between 4th and 6th Streets.
Named after the parallel Adams Street north and Jackson Street south, the Adams-Jackson Freeway travels below grade between the Hilltop and Cool Spring communities to the west and West Center City and Trinity Vicinity to the east. Winding north through Happy Valley, Interstate 95 expands to six lanes beyond ramps with SR 52 (Delaware Avenue). A fixed high level bridge spans Brandywine River and Park northward to the 18th Street overpass. I-95 leaves the city at the CSX Railroad bridge near the Triangle neighborhood.
Construction on Interstate 95 through the city began in the late 1950s with the demolition of homes between Adams and Jackson Street through West Center City. Work on the Brandywine Creek Bridge followed by August 1962. The freeway alignment was selected over an alternative further north along Bancroft Parkway due to in part to property costs. I-95 was completed through Wilmington in 1968.
The redecking of the Wilmington Viaduct between April 1979 and 1982 shut down one direction of the freeway at a time. Through traffic was redirected onto Interstate 495, with the Wilmington Bypass temporarily renumbered as Interstate 95. The northbound off-ramp at Seventh Street was relocated to Ninth Street during the construction.
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker proposed building a deck over Interstate 95 between 8th Street and Delaware Avenue (SR 52) at an economic development conference held on May 12, 2004. Citing decks covering I-95 (Delaware Expressway) and I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) in Philadelphia, the Baker proposal envisioned an area of plazas and parks surrounding a multi-use high-rise. Benefits touted included unifying the Cool Spring-Tilton Park and Trinity Vicinity communities.1 The proposal was never advanced.
Interstate 495 primarily serves through traffic to and from Philadelphia, but it also serves Wilmington commuters. Exit 1 with U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway) provides a direct route into the Wilmington central business district via U.S. 13 Business (Market Street). Exit 2 with SR 9A (Terminal Avenue) connects I-495 with both Southbridge and the Port of Wilmington, while Exit 3 joins the bypass with 12th Street west to the 11th Street Bridge and Upper East Side communities.
Interstate 495 opened to traffic with six lanes in June 1977. The Wilmington bypass was renumbered as I-95 between April 1979 and 1980 during a major overhaul of the Wilmington Viaduct. The interchange (Exit 4) with SR 3, U.S. 13 (Governor Printz Boulevard) and Edgemoor opened to traffic in June 1989. Work on that exchange started in mid-1986 and cost $33.7 million.
Premature cracking resulting from faults in the mixture used for I-495 curtailed the 30-year life span of the concrete roadway. Work to rebuild the freeway started in 1991. Delays due to both cold weather and contractor issues pushed completon of the project to 1994, well after the target date.
Speed limits were increased along Interstate 495 in 1996. The change was included in a bill signed by Governor Tom Carper raising the state-wide speed limit to 65 miles per hour (mph). Limits on I-495 and SR 1 were increased from 55 mph based upon interchange spacing and traffic volumes. Work in 2000 expanded the interchange joining Interstate 495 and U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway) at Exit 1 to include left-hand turns for I-495 south to U.S. 13 north, and from U.S. 13 south to I-495 north.
The fixed high-level bridge across the Christina River was closed on June 2, 2014 after four support columns tilted. Costing nearly $40 million, repairs replaced two sets of bridge supports, stabilized others and leveled out a 400 foot section of the deck. Interstate 495 reopened to traffic on August 23, 2014.9
U.S. 13 enters the Southbridge community of Wilmington through an industrial area along Heald Street. Delaware 9 (New Castle Avenue) converges with the route at both the Norfolk Southern Railroad underpass and D Street. The two routes overlap along a one-way couplet of Heald Street south and New Castle Avenue north for four blocks.
The South Heald Street bridge for U.S. 13 passes over the ramp taking SR 9 southbound to New Castle Avenue and the former Shellpot Branch freight secondary line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Grade crossing eliminations were at the forefront of concerns for both highway and railroad departments in the first half of the 20th century. Between 1901 and 1907 the Pennsylvania Railroad elevated its line (still in use today by AMTRAK and SEPTA) through Wilmington to eliminate hazards caused by pedestrians, wagons and autos. Construction for the South Heald Street Project in 1941-42 was part of this effort.
The 608 feet long, reinforced concrete bridge features Moderne-style parapets and diamond shaped tile mosaics along its rails. Mushroom column technology was used in its construction. The South Heald Street Bridge, and the Market Street Bridge over the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks to the west, remain Delaware’s only examples of this design. The Heald Street span was rehabilitated in 1994.3
Heald Street carries two-way traffic for U.S. 13 & SR 9 north from Lobdell Street to the Heald Street Bridge across the Christina River. A double leaf bascule bridge, the four lane span curves both routes west onto East 4th Street at Swedes Landing Road. U.S. 13 partitions with SR 9 north beyond the adjacent AMTRAK overpass for the one-way couplet of Church Street north and Spruce Street south through the East Side neighborhood.
The U.S. 13 separation of Church and Spruce Streets concludes at 11th Street and Kirkwood Park. The Church Street Bridge takes the US route northeast across Brandywine Creek to Northeast Boulevard. The 322 foot long Church Street Bridge represents another Moderne-style bridge. It opened to motorists in 1932, replacing a metal draw bridge dating back to 1869. The single-leaf, simple trunnion bascule bridge stayed in service for 22 years as a movable span, when large scale shipping along the Brandywine ended. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a request by the Delaware State Highway Department for a permanent bridge closure of the Church Street Bridge in 1952. Ensuing work replaced the original wood deck with one made of concrete and sealed the bascule span in place.3
While the bridge operating equipment for the Church Street Bridge was removed in 1957, the light grey operator’s house remains in place as part of the bridge aesthetics. Architectural elements of the span include accented concrete abutments, wingwalls, piers and balustrades.3 Northeast Boulevard, named Linwood Avenue until 1937, continues U.S. 13 north from Brandywine Creek through the 11th Street Bridge, Eastlake and Riverside communities to Governor Printz Boulevard beyond the city line. Governor Printz Boulevard was originally constructed as a truck bypass for Philadelphia Pike and its steep inclines.7
A number of route number changes were implemented in the city of Wilmington in 1970. Of those, U.S. 13 switched places with what was U.S. 13 Alternate, while the former alignment became U.S. 13 Business. Prior to the 1970 reroute, U.S. 13 followed Walnut Street north to 16th Street through Wilmington and French Street south from 16th Street to a dogleg west to the Market Street Bridge. U.S. 13 Alternate traveled the current alignment of U.S. 13 today, with a possible exception before 1941, where Church Street may have carried both directions of the route between 4th and 11th Streets through East Side.6
The alignment for U.S. 13 in 1937 followed Causeway (South Market Street) north across the Christina River to Front Street. The route dog legged east on Front Street two blocks to French Street north. French Street continued the route to 16th Street, which took U.S. 13 west one block to the Market Street Bridge across Brandywine Creek.6 By 1959, U.S. 13 north and southbound split into a one-way couplet through Downtown Wilmington. Northbound followed the same route that U.S. 13 Business does today (Walnut Street, 16th Street, Market Street). Southbound however turned east from Market Street onto Fourteenth Street east to connect with French Street south. Second Street returned the route to Market Street.5
U.S. 13 Business
U.S. 13 Business begins south of the city line at the split of Heald and Market Streets from the north end of Dupont Highway. Market Street leads the business route north through an industrial area and over a Norfolk Southern Railroad to the one-way couplet with Walnut Street southbound. Built between 1938 and 1940, the 852 foot long railroad overpass eliminated the dangerous crossing of the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads. A reconstruction project in 1994 replaced damaged sections of the deck with new lightweight concrete. Extra considerations were made to retain the historic character of the span, including the diamond shape tile mosaics that line the bridge rails.3
The South Market Street bridge over the Christina River carries southbound traffic between the Wilmington Train Station and A Street. Built between 1926-1927, the span is a double-leaf bascule bridge. It replaced a 1883-built metal truss swing span bridge, which was considered too narrow and lightweight for traffic at the time. The original bridge remained in operation during construction of its replacement. It was demolished after the new crossing opened on November 11, 1927. The South Market Bridge is 38 feet wide with cantilevered sidewalks. It was rehabilitated in 1982. South Market Street previously carried two way traffic as well.3
Northbound traffic crosses the Christina River a short distance to the east on the Walnut Street Bridge. The double leaf bascule bridge accommodates four lanes of traffic and two sidewalks across a 64 foot wide deck. It provides a 21 foot clearance from the mean high water level of the river channel. The bridge is officially named the Leo J. Dugan Bridge after a former legislator.
Following the opening of the Delaware Memorial Bridge in New Castle, planning for a new Christina River bridge commenced in 1952. The State Highway Department recommended a three quarter mile extension of Walnut Street to the new crossing to both improve access to the south and address growing traffic congestion on the adjacent South Market Street Bridge. Consulting engineers initially envisioned a limited access expressway and fixed high level bridge over the Christina River. The Highway Department however decided against the option, citing both costs associated with having to create a second bridge over the nearby Pennsylvania Railroad, and limited access highway legislation issues at the time. Instead designers went with a movable bridge option and the construction of an underpass for the railroad. With work running from June of 1954 to May of 1957, it represented the largest project undertaken by the Delaware State Highway Department in the decade following World World II.3
U.S. 13 Business travels the one-way couplet of King Street (southbound) and Walnut Street (northbound) through Downtown Wilmington. Each street accommodates anywhere between two and four travel lanes with on-street parking as well. Northbound traffic dog legs west two blocks on Sixteenth Street to combine with southbound motorists across the Market Street Bridge.
The North Market Street Bridge provides a gateway into Downtown Wilmington from the north. The steel cantilevered multi girder bridge carries four lanes of traffic with wide sidewalks across an 83 foot wide deck. Opened in 1928, the 213 feet long span cost $382,060 to build. It is thought to be the fifth crossing of Brandywine Creek at Market Street since 1764.3
Market Street extends northeast through Brandywine Village and Eastlawn with two lanes to Lea Boulevard and the city line. Leaving Wilmington, U.S. 13 Business expands to four lanes along Philadelphia Pike en route to Claymont.
U.S. 202 passes through Wilmington paired with Interstate 95 along a poorly signed overlap. The US highway previously followed Concord Avenue south from Concord Pike to U.S. 13 Business (Market Street) at Brandywine Village. The extension south to the interchange of SR 141 (Basin Road) and U.S. 13 & 40 (Dupont Highway) was approved by AASHTO on December 7, 1984.
A previous change took place on November 6, 1970, when AASHTO approved the truncation of U.S. 202 north from the Farnhurst Interchange where Interstate 295, U.S. 13, U.S. 40 and U.S. 301 met, to north Wilmington. The prior alignment, implemented by 1959, took U.S. 202 north along side U.S. 13 to the South Market Street Bridge and Front Street. There U.S. 202 separated, with northbound running concurrent with U.S. 13 via King Street north, 16th Street west and Market Street north to Concord Avenue. Southbound U.S. 202 branched from Concord Avenue along Baynard Boulevard through the Southeast 9th Ward to the Washington Street Bridge across Brandywine Creek. Washington Street extended the route south from Midtown Brandywine to Front Street east, which led U.S. 202 to Market Street and U.S. 13.4,5
The alignment of U.S. 202 in 1937 turned west along Front Street from the U.S. 13 overlap and the South Market Street Bridge. Front Street connected the route with a one-way couplet of West Street north and Washington Street south. The pair led U.S. 202 north to 11th Street, where northbound traffic dog legged west to Washington Street. North across Brandywine Creek, U.S. 202 shifted from Washington Street to Baynard Boulevard to connect with Concord Avenue.6.
Delaware 2 was designated in 1936 along Capitol Trail and Wilmington Avenue as the main route between Newark and Wilmington. Kirkwood Highway was built as a bypass of Marshallton by 1941. The widely used name for SR 2 in New Castle County does not formerly extend east into the city of Wilmington. Instead the state route follows South Union Street east from the CSX bridge to the city line at the Canby Park Estates neighborhood. The four-lane boulevard separates at Canby Park just east of Prospect Avenue.
Eastbound traffic along SR 2 shifts to Lincoln Street from Canby Park while westbound traffic remains along Union Street. Lincoln Street flows northeast with two lanes by the Bayard Square neighborhood to intersect Delaware 48 and 9 ahead of Little Italy. Union Street parallels one block to the west with three overall lanes south from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Flats and Union Park Gardens. SR 2 ends at SR 52 (Pennsylvania Avenue) near Forty Acres.
Union Street carried two-way traffic for Delaware 2 until at least 1941,6 and by 1960 the route partitioned between Lincoln and Union Streets.5
A set of cutouts for Delaware 2 & 48 was posted on Second Street at Jackson Street in the 1980s. It is unclear if the SR 2 marker was a trailblazer, or if SR 2 once overlapped with SR 48 southeast to meet Interstate 95 at that time.
Delaware 4 forms both a commuter route west to Richardson Park and Newport, and also part of the gateway to Downtown Wilmington from Interstate 95 north to Delaware 48 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard). The state route enters Wilmington along Maryland Avenue east at the five point intersection with Broom Street, Latimer Drive and Latimer Place. Maryland Avenue separates the street grids of Browntown, the St. Elizabeth Area and Hedgeville through to the I-95 viaduct west of the Riverfront. Delaware 4 ends just east of I-95 as a couplet of Madison Street north and Monroe Street south at Delaware 48 (2nd Street / MLK Boulevard).
Delaware 4 continued through north Wilmington to Philadelphia Pike near Bellefonte between 1970 and 1981. The state route formerly dog legged east two blocks from the end at Lancaster Avenue (Delaware 48) onto then Wilmington (now MLK) Boulevard to Washington Street. Washington Street then carried Delaware 4 northward through Quaker Hill, west of Downtown, to Midtown Brandywine. The route remained on Washington Street across Brandywine Creek to Southeast 9th Ward, where it angled northeast to Harlan, Brandywine Hills and an exit of the city at Rockwood Road. North of the city line, the state route expanded to four lanes with a grassy median along Washington Street Extension through to its end at U.S. 13 Business (Philadelphia Pike).
Delaware 9 was extended north to Southbridge in Wilmington by 1959. The extension north to East Side, and west along 4th Street to Delaware 2 and the Flats neighborhood, was made in 1970.
The state route enters south Wilmington along New Castle Avenue, a four-lane arterial originating in the city of New Castle. Once at Southbridge, Delaware 9 combines with U.S. 13 and partitions into a one-way couplet. New Castle Avenue carries northbound drivers. Southbound traffic uses Heald Street and a loop ramp from the Heald Street Bridge (over a Norfolk Southern Railroad line) to split with U.S. 13 south to New Castle Avenue south. Split traffic combines five blocks north of D Street to form a four-lane boulevard (Heald Street). Heald Street leads U.S. 13 & SR 9 north to SR 9A (Christina Avenue) and the Fourth Street bridge across the Christina River.
The bascule bridge for U.S. 13 & Delaware 9 across the Christina was built in 1980. The four-lane span takes motorists west to Christina Park and Swedes Landing Drive north to the 7th Street Peninsula. U.S. 13 and Delaware 9 part ways to the immediate west at the AMTRAK Northeastern Corridor overpass. U.S. 13 passes through the East Side community along a couplet of Church Street (northbound) and Spruce Street (southbound) while Delaware 9 remains on Fourth Street westward between Downtown and LOMA.
Delaware 9 (Fourth Street) intersects U.S. 13 Business (King / Walnut Streets) at the New Castle County Courthouse high rise and ascends from there to the Wilmington campus of Delaware Technical and Community College. Fourth Street remains a busy urban arterial by Quaker Hill and West Center City to Adams and Jackson Streets, the frontage streets for Interstate 95 through Wilmington. The state route climbs again beyond the southbound off-ramp from I-95 through the Hilltop community to end at Delaware 2 (Lincoln / Union Streets) at the Flats neighborhood.
Delaware 9A – Terminal Avenue
Delaware 9A forms a loop east from New Castle Avenue (Delaware 9) to the Port of Wilmington. The south leg of the route follows Terminal Avenue east to a parclo interchange with Interstate 495 just outside the city limits. Terminal Avenue then ties into the Port entrance and Christina Avenue, which turns SR 9A northwest to U.S. 13 & SR 9 (Heald Street) at the Southbridge section of Wilmington.
Christina Avenue was previously designated as part of Delaware 48 between Heald Street and the car ferry landing for Penns Grove, New Jersey. With the 1970 extension of Delaware 9 north to 4th Street, Christina Avenue was numbered as Delaware 9A.
Delaware 48 (Lancaster Pike) leads northwest from the city of Wilmington to Delaware 41 near the community of Hockessin. Together with PA 41, SR 41 and SR 48 constitute both a major trucking corridor and the primary route between Wilmington and Lancaster, Pennsylvania (via U.S. 30 west from Gap).
Lancaster Pike extends southeast from Delaware 41 along Delaware 48 through to the northwestern edge of Wilmington at Silverbrook Cemetery. Delaware 100 accompanies the four-lane arterial south from Delaware 141 (Centre Road) to (Dupont Road) by the Greenhill neighborhood of the city. Prior to 1989, SR 100 dog legged along SR 48 between the separate sections of Dupont Road, straddling the city line northward to Westover Hills. The state route was realigned to bypass North Dupont Road to shift truck traffic away from residential areas north to SR 52 (Kennett Pike). SR 100 still follows Dupont Road south from SR 48 (Lancaster Avenue) to the city of Elsmere and SR 4.
Lancaster Avenue varies between two and four lanes between the city line and CSX Railroad under crossing at Greenhill Avenue. The roadway constitutes four lanes during the daytime but reduces to two at night with the outside lanes accommodating on street parking. South of Greenhill Avenue Delaware 48 maintains just two lanes through to the intersections with Delaware 2 west (Union Street) by the Flats and Union Park Gardens communities. There the state route partitions into a one-way couplet of Lancaster Avenue (eastbound) and Second Street (westbound).
Row homes line both Lancaster Avenue and 2nd Street as Delaware 48 drops in elevation between the Bayard Square, Hilltop and Hedgeville neighborhoods. Traffic light sequencing provides a somewhat fluid route between Delaware 2 (Lincoln Street) east and the I-95 frontage roads of Adams and Jackson Streets. An on-ramp provides direct access to Interstate 95 south, while traffic bound for northbound is directed onto Adams Street to the 10th Street on-ramp.
Beyond the Interstate 95 viaduct, Delaware 48 intersects the east end of Delaware 4 (Maryland Avenue) as Lancaster Avenue transitions to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Having undergone several beautification and improvement projects since 1999, MLK Boulevard forms the southern gateway into Downtown Wilmington. The eastbound direction travels at-grade to LOMA while the westbound direction forms high speed ramps to both Interstate 95 north and south.
The east and westbound directions of Delaware 48 remain split along Second Street (westbound) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (eastbound) through to the terminus at U.S. 13 Business (King and Walnut Streets). SR 48 east defaults onto King Street northbound to Downtown while the right-hand lane extends east along Front Street to the Wilmington (Joseph R. Biden, Jr.) Train Station. SR 48 west originates at the 2nd Street intersection with Walnut Street (U.S. 13 Business) north.
Prior to the 1951 opening of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Delaware 48 extended east across the Christina River into the Southbridge section of Wilmington via Fourth Street. Beyond the crossing, the state route angled southeast along Christina Avenue (current SR 9A) to the Wilmington-Penns Grove marine terminal on the Christina River. Ferry service carried motorists from there across the Delaware River to Penns Grove, where New Jersey 48 tied in from U.S. 130 and U.S. 40. The new suspension bridge eliminated the need for the ferry route, and Delaware 48 was subsequently truncated westward. Delaware 9 overtook the Fourth Street alignment of Delaware 48 from Christina Avenue northwest to Union Street (Delaware 2) by 1970.
SR 52 forms a multi-state route with PA 52 southward from Chester County, Pennsylvania to Downtown Wilmington. The state route enters Wilmington along Kennett Pike, a four-lane arterial extending south from the upscale suburb of Greenville to the city line at Rising Sun Lane and the Ed “Porky” Oliver Golf Club.
Once in the city of Wilmington, Delaware 52 transitions to Pennsylvania Avenue at the Highlands neighborhood and the University of Delaware Wilmington Campus. The four lane boulevard lowers in elevation on the drive southeast by the Wawaset neighborhood to the Union Park Auto Mall between Bancroft Parkway and Clayton Street. Greenhill Avenue south connects Pennsylvania Avenue with Wawaset Heights while Union Street north leads motorists to Forty Acres and the Trolley Square vicinity.
Pennsylvania Avenue dips below a CSX Railroad overpass between the split sections of Union Street. The valley sometimes floods during extreme rainfall events, with temporary closures implemented by Wilmington police. Union Street south forms a one-way couplet with Lincoln Street from Delaware 52 south to the Flats and Canby Park areas as Delaware 2. Pennsylvania Avenue meanwhile ascends again from the east end of Delaware 2 (Lincoln Street) toward the merge with Delaware Avenue at Fountain Plaza and the Happy Valley neighborhood.
Delaware Avenue overtakes Pennsylvania Avenue as the alignment of Delaware 52 southward across Interstate 95 to Trinity Vicinity and the Midtown Brandywine areas. The state route expands to a six-lane divided boulevard between Van Buren and Madison Streets before separating into a one-way couplet. Southbound traffic uses Delaware Avenue to Jefferson Street and 11th Street through to the end at U.S. 13 Business (Walnut Street) north. SR 52 north takes 12th Street from Walnut Street through to the merge with Delaware Avenue.
Delaware 52 originally followed Delaware Avenue and Eleventh Street with two-way traffic southeast to French Street, the historic route of U.S. 13, in Downtown Wilmington.6 By 1959 the alignment split between Delaware Avenue, Tenth Street, King Street and Eleventh Street through to a terminus at U.S. 13 Alternate (Church Street). Westbound traveled 11th Street to Delaware Avenue at that time.5
Delaware 202 – Concord Avenue
Delaware 202 lines Concord Avenue south from Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 (Concord Pike) through the 9th Ward Area to Brandywine Village in north Wilmington. The state route ends at U.S. 13 Business (Market Street) and Vandever Avenue in the Brandywine Village neighborhood.
Poorly signed, SR 202 was designated in 1984 when U.S. 202 was realigned to overlap with I-95 south to SR 141 near Newport.
Principle Streets / Arterials
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard constitutes a four to six lane boulevard from Jackson Street by the Hilltop neighborhood to King Street (U.S. 13 Business south) at LOMA. The boulevard provides a gateway into Downtown from Interstate 95 from the 4th Street and Maryland Avenue off-ramps. The westbound carriageway defaults onto high speed ramps for I-95 beyond Washington Street. Prior to 1989, MLK Boulevard was named Wilmington Boulevard.
Landscaping and other cosmetic improvements were made along MLK Boulevard between 1999 and 2001. These included the installation of new decorative mast-arm signal assemblies and street lights. A westward extension of the boulevard to Union and Lincoln Streets (SR 2) at the Flats neighborhood was discussed in 2004. It would have involved the demolition of several homes along the 2nd Street and Lancaster Avenue couplet of SR 48.1
|One of several Interstate 95 trailblazers posted along Martin Luther King Boulevard westbound near LOMA. The boulevard provides the best route to Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 from the southern half of Downtown Wilmington. Photo taken 03/19/04.|
|Martin Luther King Boulevard west at Tatnall Street. No turns are permitted here. Photo taken 04/04/04.|
|The signal with West Street is the last before Martin Luther King Boulevard transitions into the high speed ramps to I-95 on the Wilmington Viaduct. West Street provides access to Justison Landing along the Christina River and the Quaker Hill neighborhood. Photo taken 04/04/04.|
|The south end of Washington Street ties into Martin Luther King Boulevard westbound as it ascends above SR 4 (Madison and Monroe Streets). The elevated ramps partition to I-95 north to Philadelphia and south to Baltimore ahead. Greenouts placed on the overheads here cover "Must Exit" placards. Photo taken 04/04/04.|
|Drivers joining I-95 north form an auxiliary lane ahead of the off-ramp (Exit 7) to Delaware 52. The southbound on-ramp merges onto Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 from the left, 1.75 miles ahead of I-295 north. Photo taken 04/04/04.|
Augustine Cutoff connects Lovering Avenue and the Trolley Square neighborhood in northwest Wilmington with U.S. 202 (Concord Pike) and West Park Drive at Blue Ball. A deck truss bridge with stone arches carries the two-lane road high above Brandywine Creek to 18th Street. Beyond the city line, Augustine Cutoff runs between the Alapocas, Augustine Ridge and Rock Manor subdivisions.
|Augustine Cutoff northbound travels high above Brandywine Creek from Wawaset Street, near the 40th Acres neighborhood, through to the turn off for 18th Street. Photo taken 04/21/04.|
|Augustine Cutoff northbound travels high above Brandywine Creek from Wawaset Street, near the 40th Acres neighborhood, to the turn off to 18th Street. Photo taken 04/21/04.|
|18th Street lowers from Augustine Cutoff north to pass underneath the adjacent CSX Railroad and over Interstate 95 before entering the Triangle neighborhood of the city at Broom Street. Baynard Stadium resides just east of the parallel railroad line. Photo taken 04/21/04.|
Rising Sun Bridge3
The Rising Sun Bridge spans Brandywine Creek between Rising Sun Lane and Powder Mill Road just outside the city limits by Rockford Park. Partially supported by a stone arch, a covered bridge was constructed over Brandywine Creek at the location in 1833. The design of the Rising Sun Bridge incorporated the arch and ashlar bridge abutments from the original crossing. Built in 1928, the span is one of only two surviving pre-1956 metal truss bridges within the state of Delaware. The other is located along a private road across Brandywine Creek, north of the Hagley Museum.
|New Bridge Road connects Rising Sun Lane and Henry Clay Road with Walkers Bank and Powder Mills Road south of Delaware 141 (Barley Mill Road). Photo taken 04/26/04.|
|The Rising Sun Bridge is 193 feet in length. Photo taken 03/20/04.|
|A 25 foot long stone arch and a 127 foot long truss support the bridge deck. Photo taken 03/20/04.|
|The 1833 stone arch at the west end of the Rising Sun Bridge originally spanned a mill race. Photo taken 03/20/04.|
|Work in 1979 replaced the concrete deck and several rivets with higher strength steel bolts. Photo taken 03/20/04.|
Vandever Avenue provides a through street and truck route linking U.S. 13 (Northeast Boulevard) at the Eastlake community with U.S. 13 (Market Street) and SR 202 (Concord Avenue) at Brandywine Village. Vandever Avenue was never a part of SR 202.
Wilmington Traffic Lights
The city of Wilmington generally uses the same color scheme as the rest of Delaware, with yellow signal housing and black visors. There is some variation, with all black traffic lights, and signals using tunnel visors instead of cutaways. Historically a wider mixture of signal brands were used throughout the city. Many 30 inch signals were used as well, including those mounted to pedestals.
- “Vision for Wilmington: Deck over I-95.” The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), May 12, 2004.
- “Reinvented again, city seeks a social core.” The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), December 22, 2003.
- Delaware Historic Bridges
http://www.deldot.net/static/projects/, Delaware Department of Transportation.
- Moore, Carl.
- Froehlig, Adam.
- Alex B.
- Francis, William. (2014) Images of America – Along the Kirkwood Highway. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing.
- "All I-495 lanes open." The News Journal (DE), August 25, 2014.
Page Updated March 7, 2017.